Well guess what we know when Windows 8 will be released!!! On October, 26, 2012 we will see droves of people heading to the big box stores: Staples, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target. Amazon will be buzzing with sales, and Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Nvidia, and the other chip makers will have a big quarter. Expect PC sales of over 10 million on day one and many stores selling Windows 8 tablets, laptops, desktops, and even server sales with Windows Home Server 2012. So far we do not have a date for Office 2013, but I can at least tell you that the Windows RT 2013 will be available for Windows RT users.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Well you might be asking, "This is a desktop app not a Windows 8 app?" Well actually the Office 2013 suite is so metrofied that it feels like a Windows 8 app. The new Office 2013 or Office 15 has some great improvements like, edit PDFs, embedding videos into Word documents, adding social sites, blogging in Word, and many other goodies that some where already in Office, but are now revealed and make it much easier and fun to use. At the bottom of the page you can see some screenshots in the usual slideshow. I have installed: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Onenote, Access, Publisher, and Outlook.
I was happy to see a host of new features available in Word 2013. To some power users dismay the ribbon is back, but this time it is in a new metro encasement. I really like the addition of embedding videos into word files and the editing of PDFs was a great choice too. Slowly but surely Microsoft is turning the Office suite into a one stop shop powerhouse. Of course small time developers will not like this because their applications that may have converted files are being neglected, but it all works out for the consumer in timely fashion. Touch optimization was not that bad considering the whole rectangle and square approach instead of the old circle approach. It felt a bit under professional with the entire Metro theme compared to 2010 and looked a bit retro and consumer like, but it did the job much better with no lag. I was surprised at how fast text entered and how quick pages loaded. I was pretty happy to see a very clean design and quick performance. Everything is very clean and loads up faster then some metro apps. You can easily customize the background with a couple of different ones from the Start screen. It is a very clean typical metro interface that is very easy to use and I enjoyed using it. Is it touch friendly? Depending on how big your screen is and how many pixels you have. If you have a 1920x1200 AIO than this would be great. On smaller devices it is a big upgrade from Office 14/ 2010, but still has a ways to go.
I do not use Excel much except when I am at school until I saw the new version. It almost compels me to make up charts that I will not even use (much). It connects to my Sky Drive to keep my spreadsheets anywhere and everywhere. I really like that so I can edit that no matter what I am on with either Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 or Android using the Office Web Apps. I really love the simplified approach of metro and the Excel app really excelled my spreadsheets.
I used PowerPoint a lot in school during Computer class and I think I might have done it easier with the new PowerPoint. The app is not only lighter it runs so much faster and text input is just as buttery smooth as Word. There has been some improvements like adding glow effects and it is so easy to move pictures around. Borrowing from Google's term "Project Butter" everything has been smooth from text to moving from page to page. There has not been that much change for PowerPoint. It is more of a cosmetic change and the integration of social media. The template "store" is very beautiful and looks really cool and touch friendly. I really like the look and feel of the entire suit and PowerPoint was no exception. It does have a uniformity of the entire suite, but I like the look.
One Note 2013
The best and probably most used college tool is OneNote. I know a lot of people that do use Word to take notes, but the new and improved OneNote is more than able to take graphs and all other types of statistics and notes of course. It can accept either drawing or typing whatever you choose. This is the only app that the Microsoft team decided to make a Windows 8 full metro app. The metro app is more touch friendly and is built sideways not top down. It is called OneNote MX (as seen above) and looks really cool and is very quick and easy to use. The good thing about it is whenever there is a crash or a bug found it will automatically send a bug report to the Microsoft dev team. It is a bit hard to use, but when you get used to it actually it is very quick and fun to use. I could see someone using it paired with a Asus tab 810 or Surface Pro with a stylus writing down notes super quickly. The desktop app has a lot of more features and looks beautiful and has a little snipping tool.
I have only used Publisher twice in my life, but both of those times I fell in love with it. It reminds me of the PowerPoint app with the glow effects and the easy picture swapping. It comes with a little tutorial with some high quality photos probably from a Nikon or Canon dSLR. The tutorial is simply a publisher file with some information about the new features. It is the tool of the advertiser and the student who needs to make pamphlets or any other publication that your little heart may need. In reality there is no other Publisher equal. Google Docs or Open Office do not have anything that has the same level of sophistication or large size of templates. The entire metro feel flowed right through to this app and is excellently shown.
This is the most used app that I have used in all of my testing Office 15. it can effortlessly open my e-mail accounts faster than gmail or even the mail app for metro. By far the Outlook 2013 is the most changed from Office 2010. Not only does it have metro up top it has it everywhere. It was a bit hard to use at first, but when you get used to it it is fast and easy to use. I really love the entire look and design of the app and it supports pen input and can support multiple inboxes no matter if Imap or POP. It is the most used I have with Word behind it. It is the best e-mail app I have ever used because the mail app does not support e-mail accounts from carriers. It feels like Word and advanced e-mail functions are mixed together. Once again the text is fast and fluid like Word. It works like a dream and I never have had a bug in it yet.
I have to say that I was a bit leery of Office 15, but now that I see it is a one stop shop for much of what I do. It provides all of the services you already use in Office 2010 with added functionality, speed, and a beautiful new design. When I type in Word and compare it to blogger.com Word wins every time. Also the Office 15 suites are not processor hungry unlike Google Chrome or Open Office. I am very happy to use Office 15 and can not wait to test this on a touch enabled laptop.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Doesn't everyone love free stuff? What if you had 23,469 ebooks for free with no catch or ads? Well your wish has come true. Many great authors like Jack London, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Author Conan Doyle, and many others who are renowned authors, scientists, and inaugural addresses. I originally rated the app a one star since it would not load when I first tried to use it, but it finally came around and now I use it more than some other apps. The e-reading experience is bare bones with no settings at all. When I try to go to something else in a different app the app shuts off and displays the splash screen when I do go back. The formatting is a bit bad on some books and others it is a lot better. I rather a nice consistent experience all across the board. What really surprised me was how well it handled the search and share charm features. The search was pretty nice for a pretty bare bones app. There was a simple download function just tap twice and overall it was simple to use since there was nothing to use. It has a large library of information including many Inaugural addresses from many presidents.
This app gives Windows 8 multitasking a bad name. Unless you like looking at the splash screen a lot then don't leave the app or you will get it. It does load up in an average 2.5 seconds and the splash screen looks okay. It loads up to the "My Library" section and since you do not have any books it will show the featured articles, collections, and big authors. The app works very well in snapped mode letting you shop for books, but you have to be in fill or full screen mode to read books. The books are in a kindle like two pane and are not very formatted too much. The share function works with apps like mail, quicknote, and wordpress. The app is built on the classicly.com website where you can upload free classics and other documents that the public should see.
This app is really a mixed bag. In some parts like the large library of books and not a bad overall e-reader and has a great search and share charm functions. In other respects there is no option to zoom or reading in snapped mode like the kindle app. I prefer the kindle app because you can leave the app and come back to your page instantly and it has a lot of more bells and whistles to give you a better reading experience.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Well we do know that one basketball team uses the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and this can be a game changer with the right hardware. I may have played basketball, but I am no coach. I have used the app and found it very cool, but it lacking some pretty core features like exporting a play as a video or sharing the play to your team via e-mail or Facebook.
The app takes a bit long to start up which I thought was long for a light to medium application. I did experience when running a video off of the internet, open word document, and two opened Google chrome tabs that I experienced some crashes when I was in the app which makes it seem very unstable. The app is a bit complex for me because in the app screenshots it has the players with names underneath the little circles. Nowhere in the app command bar or the charm setting bar does it have an option for names underneath the players. It works by you (the coach) creates a play step by step and then saves it to the coaches clipboard in a proprietary file format and has a little tile in your clipboard. It says that there is an option to export your file which is nothing, but it only exports it as an XML file not a video file like an AVI or H.264. Truthfully the app is still a bit lacking in terms of speed with nothing open.
The app builds on a nice concept and helps prove the point that Windows 8 can cater to all needs in any profession. I will not let the pre-build argument fly here since basic needs are not met with exporting files and sharing. Also a bigger tile would be nice that displayed your plays and a pin to start menu option would be nice too.